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Mac Mail locked

Posted on 2010-11-16
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We have an Xserve running OS 10.5 server and acting as our mail server. One of our users complains that often he cannot send or receive emails because it says the account is locked. After some discussion with him, I found that he has his computer at home, his laptop, and iPhone all configured with his email account as a POP account. I advised him that he should have them setup as IMAP because of the "POP Lock" that the server puts on his account when one device accesses it. He still has not reconfigured his devices to use IMAP, but he is still complaining because he says that he will completely shut down two devices and the 3rd is still getting locked out. Is there something else I am missing? Another thing I noticed on his machine is that he has over 20,000 emails. I told him that he should really clean that up, but he refuses because I can't give him a "real answer" as to why he should. Oh, and this is the owner of the company so I can't use the "because your IT manager said to" or I'll get the "well I'm the owner so unless you can give me a good reason".

Thanks for your help.
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Question by:wiggy353
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by:Justin Nordin
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I would just explain to him that with pop each client has to download all 20,000 emails each time they connect, whereas IMAP will update the server with what has been read/downloaded/deleted.

POP is absolutely horrible for 20,000 messages and should not be used (as you already know)
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et01267 earned 250 total points
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Well, POP won't download all 20000 messages each time it connects, but as you point out the locking behavior of POP is undoubtedly to blame.  Even if he shuts two devices down, that doesn't mean the lock is released.  It's really a 20th century protocol.

Tell your user/boss that IMAP can be configured to keep the messages for offline viewing (just like POP) but it is much less likely (basically zero chance) to cause locking problems.

I suppose there is a small chance that the XServe (or Apple Mail Server) is choking on 20000 messages, but that could also be specific to POP.

FYI, I have over 115000 messages in my "all mail" folder on Gmail -- and IMAP just deals (Apple Mail, iphone, Postbox, whatever)
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by:Justin Nordin
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> Well, POP won't download all 20000 messages each time it connects,

Yes, I mispoke.  I just meant that the client has no way to tell if the messages have been downloaded on the other machines unless the other machines are set to not leave a copy of the messages on the server.  

I did not mean to say that it will re-download all 20,000 messages at each connect.
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by:nxnw
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A locked POP mailbox should not stop him from sending messages. Have you confirmed that his login was not disabled by multiple bad login attempts? Maybe he is just misconstruing the POP lock and assumes he can't send?

I wonder if the problem is being aggravated because there is no mechanism to purge the mailbox - he may not have any client set to delete messages from the server ever. The more typical POP scenario has a mailbox that gets emptied out at every login. It is only when you try to force a POP server into a job it is not good at that you have to mess with the deletion settings. I don't know the process POP uses to determine which of the thousands of emails in a server account need to be downloaded to a particular device, but I'm sure the process is a whole lot slower with a bloated POP mailbox than with an empty one.

If his clients never delete mail from the server, there could be 10s of thousands of messages sitting there.

Picking up high volume mail on three devices from a POP server must be unbearable - having to delete unwanted messages three times, for instance. Surely the benefit of synchronized mailboxes is so significant it should not be difficult to sell.
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by:nxnw
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So, what was the issue?
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